The 4th Sunday of Lent, Year B: 1st Reading

2 Chronicles 36:14-16, 19-23

In those days, all the princes of Judah, the priests, and the people
   added infidelity to infidelity,
   practicing all the abominations of the nations
   and polluting the LORD’s temple
   which he had consecrated in Jerusalem.

Early and often did the LORD, the God of their fathers,
   send his messengers to them,
   for he had compassion on his people and his dwelling place.
But they mocked the messengers of God,
   despised his warnings, and scoffed at his prophets,
   until the anger of the LORD against his people was so inflamed
   that there was no remedy.
Their enemies burnt the house of God,
   tore down the walls of Jerusalem,
   set all its palaces afire,
   and destroyed all its precious objects.
Those who escaped the sword were carried captive to Babylon,
   where they became servants of the king of the Chaldeans and his sons
   until the kingdom of the Persians came to power.
All this was to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah:
   “Until the land has retrieved its lost sabbaths,
   during all the time it lies waste it shall have rest
   while seventy years are fulfilled.”

In the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia,
   in order to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah,
   the LORD inspired King Cyrus of Persia
   to issue this proclamation throughout his kingdom,
   both by word of mouth and in writing:
   “Thus says Cyrus, king of Persia:
   All the kingdoms of the earth
   the LORD, the God of heaven, has given to me,
   and he has also charged me to build him a house
   in Jerusalem, which is in Judah.
Whoever, therefore, among you belongs to any part of his people,
   let him go up, and may his God be with him!”